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Fifth Sunday of Easter

May 19, 2019 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Easter

Passage: John 16:12–16:22

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Acts 11:1-18; Revelation 21:1-7; John 16:12-22
Date: May 19th, 2019; Easter 5; Series C
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • We prayed in the Collect of the Day earlier, “that among the many changes of this world may our hearts be fixed where true joys are found.”
  • There are so many changes in this world, aren’t there?
  • Over the last century the world has changed like never before and things just seem to keep changing more rapidly everyday.
  • It’s hard to keep up and can be very unsettling.
  • And we experience not only changes in this world, but also many changes in our lives personally. 
  • Things can be going smoothly and we’re just going about our day when a sudden fall leaves us with a broken bone or injury and all of our plans for the next while are instantly changed.  Everything is turned upside down. 
  • Or the company we are working for downsizes and we are left wondering how the bills are going to be paid, or the plans we had for school end up being far different than we thought, or some conflict arises with a loved one straining our relationship - all of these can leave us feeling uneasy about the future.
  • Certainly there are some changes that are good - but nothing in this world stays the same forever.
  • It has been said that the only thing that stay the same in this world - is change itself. 
  • Change can rob us of the joy of our Lord and the joys in this life that he has given us.
  • Especially the one change that above all others is most difficult to bear - and that is death. 
  • The death of a parent, of a spouse, of a child, of anyone we love - is the most devastating change we can experience.  
  • It disrupts our lives like nothing else.
  • Even heaven and earth are going to die - St. John shared in his vision that he saw the first heaven and the first earth passed away. 
  • So, in the midst of the many chances and changes in this life, in the midst of death - we pray that our hearts may be fixed where true joys are found.
  • And where are true joys found?
  • True joys are found in the One who changes not!
  • True joys are found in the One who has promised a new heaven and a new earth - and that’s a promise that will never change.
  • In his love, mercy, and grace - God has promised to remove sin and death from his creation, from us, so that we can live life the way he intended - without the disruptive changes brought by sin and death.
  • “Behold, I am making all things new” is what God declares from his throne - as we heard in our reading from Revelation.
  • This is why Jesus took on our flesh - not just to be a good example, not just to share some wisdom on how to better live our lives - he entered this world to make all things new!  
  • And this includes you - you have been made new!
  • What does it mean to be made new?
  • It means that baptized into Christ you bear the fruit of the Spirit and live with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
  • It means that you forgive those who trespass against you (just as you have been forgiven) and seek peace and reconciliation.
  • It means that you live freely without the burden and guilt of your sins and failures weighing on you - Christ has taken that weight from you.
  • It means that as we live our lives as the new creation God has made us - others experience and hear-of and receive the newness of life that Christ has won for the entire world.  
  • It means that your body that suffers the pain of injury, that is susceptible to sickness and disease, that aches and breaks down - your body that is dying - will be made new!
  • Your new body will be healthy and strong and filled with energy.
  • No more weakness and pain and suffering.
  • I love how Isaiah describes it - he says that in our new bodies we will leap like a deer! (Isaiah 35:6).
  • Behold, Christ has made all things new!  He has made you new!
  • It is in this truth, the truth in which the Holy Spirit guides us - that true joys are found! 
  • Yes, we enjoy many things in this life and we are thankful for the gifts of our loving family and friends, for the joyful moments of births and baptisms, graduations and marriages, Birthdays and Anniversaries. 
  • We are thankful for the joys of our vocations and hobbies, the joys of good food and drink, the joys that come from good music, and art, and glorious sunsets.
  • We live in a beautiful world that is filled with joy.
  • But, for a while, in this fallen world, we still experience things that will make us weep and lament.
  • For a while, we still have to deal with the devastation and sorrow of death. 
  • But we have God’s unchanging promise that our weeping and sorrow will turn into joy when he makes all things new!
  • To illustrate this, Jesus uses the vivid image of a woman giving birth.
  • There is suffering and pain that comes with giving birth - but that anguish gives way to extreme happiness when that little bundle of joy enters the world!
  • So too, Jesus says, we will have sorrow and anguish in this life - but he promises that when we see him again our hearts will rejoice, and no one will ever take this joy from us!
  • My brothers and sisters in Christ - hear again the promise from the One who changes not:
  • God will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
  • Death shall be no more.
  • Neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore.
  • The former things have passed away.
  • Behold, Christ has made all things new.
  • May our hearts be fixed here - where true joys are found.  Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.